The #16 USC Trojans (25-5, 14-5 Pac-12) clash with rival #17 UCLA Bruins (22-6, 14-5 Pac-12) to close out the regular season on Saturday night. The top-25 matchup will decide who finishes second in the Pac-12 Conference behind the Arizona Wildcats. USC won the first meeting between the two schools, a 67-64 home victory.
Saturday tip-off is at 10 p.m. EST inside Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles, CA. UCLA opened as an 8.5-point favorite, with the over-under total at 137 points.
What to Know – USC Trojans
Southern Cal aims to bounce back after its loss to Arizona earlier and will try and sweep the season series against its in-town rival. A win against the Bruins gives the Trojans bragging rights into the Pac-12 Tournament. USC is 39th in the KenPom and 31st in the NCAA NET rankings.
USC is third in the conference averaging 73.4 points per game while shooting 45.4% from the floor and 35.2% from the 3-point line. The Trojans’ defense limits opponents to 65.7 points per game, 38.7% shooting from the field, and 33.7% shooting from deep.
Arizona built up a 24-point halftime lead and throttled the Trojans at home, 91-71, on Tuesday. Max Agbonkpolo came off the bench to lead the Trojans with 14 points. Drew Peterson and Chevez Goodwin added ten points apiece for USC.
The Trojans are 14-16 against the spread and 7-4 ATS on the road. USC has won its last five matchups straight-up against UCLA.
What to Know – UCLA Bruins
UCLA can head into the postseason on a three-game winning streak and hand their rival a loss to even the season series. The Bruins can also improve their home record to 14-1 on the year. UCLA is 8th in the KenPom and 12th in the NET.
On offense, the Bruins rank second in the Pac-12, scoring 76.8 points per game and hitting 44.9% of their shots from the field and 35.4% of their shots from the arc. UCLA’s defense surrenders a league-low 64.2 points per game, holding teams to 41.1% shooting from the floor and 31.5% from three.
Washington put up a hard fight, but the Bruins used a second-half rally to escape Seattle with a 77-66 triumph over the Huskies in their last outing. Jaime Jaquez Jr. erupted for a career-high 30 points, hitting 11-of-17 shots from the floor. Jules Bernard added 12 points and the Bruins won the rebounding battle, 40-28.
UCLA is 15-12-1 ATS and 9-4-1 at home. Over its last six games at home, the Bruins are 6-0 ATS.
The Pick is In
All signs favor the Bruins heading into Saturday night’s battle. The Bruins will try and take down the Trojans after falling to them earlier in the season and carry some momentum into conference play, having won five of their last six games. While we think the Bruins win at home, the line is a bit high for two very similar teams.
Give us the Trojans and the points in this one.
Betting Pick: USC Trojans +8.5